Memories of Tift Park
Emails In Response
to Rumblings of the 'Sale of Tift Park'
Are you aware of pending
sale of Tift Park?
~ Julie Mayer Bridges ('61)
I don't publish "political - type" subjects in the Albany High Times
or "News & Clues. Yet often city decisions are political - just as
was the destruction of the Radium Casino. I have had people write to
me to post certain political subjects, "... Because you can reach so
many people". I did not; I have wanted to keep the "Times"
remembering memories and making connections ...
However as to whether to publish letters concerning the sale of Tift
Park, I remembered ... the Albany High Times had its birth in
support of SAVING the Casino - by collecting and sending email
updates ... and in no time at all, so many Indians began sending
memories and outrage ... so I opened a few webpages on my personal
as a way to post those emails. At the time, Indians Marion Hay
('55), Joe Ed Rossman ('55), Lynn Garrison Johnson ('82) and I were
serving on the Radium Springs Casino Preservation Group with
leaders, Morgan Murphy ('47) and Lamar Clifton ('46) and others.
Tift Park affects Indians who lived/live in that area ... and it
contains memories of those who, along with their friends, used the
park, the zoo, the pool, and the Wig Wam, etc. So I am sending the
information to Indians of the 50's and 60's, along with a notice to
Betty Rehberg ('74) asking her to post on Vintage Albany Georgia
FaceBook. I remember how valiantly she fought for the Broad Ave
~ Beverly Smith Herrington ('55)
No, I have heard nothing!!! I am posting this in VA (Vintage
~ Betty Rehberg (í74)
If apathy still exist in Albany the same as it did when we were working
on the Casino Project then they don't have a snow balls chance.
Somewhere along the line the white folks in Albany threw in the towel.
However, it is worth saving and fighting for!! No city should be without
open space for their citizens. In fact most modern cities have built
into their subdivision regulations a section that mandates that
subdivision developers include open space for their developments. I
can't even imagine the City of Albany without Tift Park.
needs to go to the Clerk of Court's Office and pull up a copy of the
deed that where the property was deeded to the City of Albany to see if
it had a reversion clause in it. Back in those days when property was
given to a city for a particular purpose and it ever ceased being used
for that purpose then it reverted back to the original grantor's estate.
Somebody needs to get a copy of the original deed.
Marion Hay ('55)
2/17/2014: This is shocking!!! I guess I've had my head buried in the
sand. I knew nothing about it. I wonder how they can do this since it
has been on the historical records for a number of years! We don't use
the park or hardly ever go by there but it is still a part of "old
Albany" and should be kept as is. Back in my young days I just about
lived there in the old swimming pool and later taking our girls to see
the animals at the zoo.
~ Tommy Pattison ('54)
I got my first job at the Tift Park Pool working
checking in swimmer's clothes and then returning them. It was
the summer of my freshman year and I think the next summer as
well. The First Baptist Church, where my family went, often had
barbeque picnics there consisting largely of Brunswick Stew. I
also remember Easter Egg Hunts there. I was so proud of how the
zoo grew from a few rabbits, alligators, and gold fish, carp I
guess you would call them, to Buffalo Bill, lots of monkeys,
otter, a lion, and a lot of animals I can't remember. None of
the other towns had anything like that. In the later part of my
high school days they built us a teen center. I don't think we
took full advantage of it, but it was nice that the teens were
thought of. The park needs to be preserved for future
generations. It's a part of Albany's history.
Briggs Deckert ('57)
have the same memories John does of the pool, the animals, the
Wigwam, and living in Palmyra Heights, just next door to the
Rawson Circle area, we also heard the lion roar. Wonder how he
came upon all this information when no one I've talked to has
heard a thing about selling the park. I'll keep spreading the
word, and thanks for getting it out like this through AHT.
~ Martha LeSueur Nicholson ('56)
Thank you so much for
doing this. I haven't lived in Albany since I went off to
college in the fall of '61, but I still regard Albany as
HOME. I love Albany.
I grew up across the street from Tift park. Spent many
wonderful hours on the swings, the monkey bars, at the
zoo, on the tennis courts, and in the pool. And, like
John Sherman, I heard the wonderful sounds of the
animals in the zoo at all hours of the day and night.
The city gets no tax
revenue from this property. It costs money. So I suspect
that the motive for selling this property is to get tennants
that would pay taxes. We see this happening all over the
I might point out that
Gwinnett County has some of the best (if not THE best) parks
in the nation. They have received national awards for their
parks. There are WONDERFUL parks ALL OVER Gwinnett county.
And they are well-used by the citizens of Gwinnett. On any
sunny day the parks are FULL of people walking, children
playing in the playgrounds, people walking their dogs,
sports events, etc., etc. Their parks are a positive drawing
point for that county. (See:
Parks, providing all
sorts of recreation, are a necessary part of a HEALTHY
community. It would behoove Albany and Dougherty County to
IMPROVE the existing parks and create MORE parks, accessible
to ALL citizens, providing all sorts of recreation. This
would make Albany a more appealing destination for
corporations to locate there, as well as making the area a
more pleasant place for current residents to live.
To destroy a wonderful
park is DESTRUCTIVE to the health of the community.
~ Julie (Mayer) Bridges '61
can't say I remember the year and grammar school (maybe
Flint) but I do remember when we were asked to donate a
buffalo nickel to help getting a buffalo for the zoo. Does
anyone else remember?
~ Anne West Green ('60)
All in the
name of progress----I canít believe it---just like so many other
things that have happened that I canít believe---or refuse to. I
remember as children we collected Buffalo nickels to buy a buffalo
for the park---that was so much fun and so rewarding. The elephant
that was there was glorious, as were all the animals. I took my two
older children there when they were young---they are both in their
forties now---and they had a wonderful time. There has always been
something there for everybody----what a shame that so much of our
history is going away---again, all in the name of progress and the
Earline Hayslip Reeves ('61)
I have such wonderful memories of the
park. I loved watching the animals and going to the pool. it
was so much fun and to think it was not very deep but just
enough to cool off in the hot Albany summers. A very special
memory of the park is, every year they had a doll contest. I
had several Madam Alexander dolls. I entered one in the
contest and she won first place. She had on a beautiful pink
evening dress and long blonde curls!
2/22/2014: Tift Park
Memories ... THE ZOO! So laid back and relaxing. Red clay
tennis courts (my Mom remembered playing there), catcher for
soft ball during gym classes in High School THEN in the
early 60s taking my 3 yr old son to the swimming pool when
visiting grandparents. Mom told me about learning to drive
in the sandy lanes. The oak trees and the Spanish moss.
~ Cathy Holt Norton ('52)
For those of you who think the Tift Park issue was not
real ... just stay alert ... I received the following
"I read the article and was appalled that
the City Manager, James Taylor, was talking out of both
sides of his mouth. In one quote, it says, "We have no
intention of selling Tift Park. Absolutely no truth to
that." Then further in the article, he grouped it in
with a number of other properties that are "offered for
sale by auction."
I am going to include articles, letters and emails in
the March issue of "News & Clues", and point them to the
a new webpage "Tift Park". I just wanted you to
know, that I have not changed my mind ... brighter minds
than mine have convinced me that this is no more than
another chapter in "run-a-rounds" from city management
... and having dealt with the Radium fiasco, I know this
game well. I also know from experience ... often the
good people of Albany do not win.
I want to thank Betty Rehberg ('74) who put the
information on Vintage Albany Georgia. Betty
worked valiantly to save the Broad Ave Bridge for a long
time, and she knows very well the "ways" of the city.
She is fighting her own battle with cancer right now,
and yet she did not hesitate to take up the Tift Park
battle. I ask that you all keep her in your prayers.
Beverly Smith Herrington
2/24/2014: I remember that and it is also for
Shackelford park too! Cannot sell it and most old
Albanians remember this! Good for the town. There is
so little to do in Albany, this should be preserved.
~ Brenda Arnett Darbyshire ('67)
The public pressure was to much for the City
Manager and the Commissioners to handle and they
dropped it like a hot potato. I saw one of the
Associates with Rowel Realty & Auction Co. at
lunch yesterday, the ones who had the property
listed for sale, and they told me that the City
of Albany had deleted the Tift Property from
their sales list because of a reversion clause
in the original deed and that they, the city,
didn't have authority to sell it. This, in my
opinion, was only an excuse because John Sherman
had told me early on that there wasn't a deed
restriction on the sell of the property. I would
think that public pressure was the culprit that
caused the city to remove it from the auction
list and that there is and never was a reversion
clause. You helped excite the public pressure.
~ Marion Hay ('55)
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